Iranian military has seized two Greek tankers in the Persian Gulf due to “violations.” Observers refer to the retaliation motivation behind the IRGC move.
Iranian soldiers reportedly confiscated two Greek ships carrying oil cargos in the Persian Gulf yesterday. It happened just few days after Tehran threatened to take retributive measures against Greece after the US seizure of Iran’s crude from a ship off the Greek shore.
Hours after the move yesterday, Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps released a statement announcing the seizure of two Greek tankers in the Persian Gulf. The action was conducted “due to violations that were committed,” according to the IRGC statement. There have been no details about the nature of the “violations.”
After the Iranian military forces announced the seizure of Greek-flagged oil ships in the Persian Gulf, Greece reacted by charging Iran with piracy. “These actions are tantamount to acts of piracy,” Greek foreign ministry stressed in a statement.
The same office also claimed it had lodged a strong protest about what it described as a “violent” seizure with the Iranian envoy in the capital.
The decision was made in the midst of a conflicts between the two countries over the condition of an Iranian oil in Russian tanker. The Iranian oil was discovered on board a Russian-flagged ship near Greece last month.
Iranian military helicopters placed armed troops on the two ships yesterday, according to Greece. According to the government claims, one of the Greek tankers, the Delta Poseidon, was traveling in open waters.
The Prudent Warrior, according to Polembros, a Greek corporation, was the second ship. The second tanker, according to the Greek foreign ministry, faced seizure off the Iranian coastlines. “The ship has been seized by the Iranian authorities. We have no communication with them at this time,” company spokesperson said.
Greek Tankers for Iranian Tankers
Two days before the incident, Greece said that it will transport 115,000 tons of the oil from the April-seized tanker, belonging to Iran, to the US. It was to be done at the behest of US Treasury Department, which is in charge of enforcing sanctions on Iran.
Yesterday, Iran’s foreign office asked that Greece release the ship. The proposed shipment of its oil to the United States, according to the agency, is an obvious breach of international regulations.
The seizure of a ship in Greek shore has been connected by Athens to sanctions placed on Moscow following Ukraine war. The Iranian foreign office called the Greek charge d’affaires to submit the objection a few days ago.
The Swiss charge d’affaires, whose nation has overseen Washington’s interests in Tehran, has also been called by Iranian foreign ministry. Tehran blasted “the US government’s pressure and intervention” that led to the Greece’s move over the Iranian oil cargo.
At the time, Greece as a member of the European Union said it was implementing sanctions placed by the group on Russia following its incursion of Ukraine earlier this year.
Tehran charged Washington with “violation of the law of the sea and the relevant international conventions.” It also “called for the immediate lifting of the seizure of the ship and its cargo.”
The dispute over the Greek tankers has occurred in the midst of strained efforts to resurrect the JCPOA. For over a year, Iran, the United States, and a number of other western powers have been attempting to resurrect the 2015 nuclear agreement.
Former US administration unilaterally withdrew the nuclear deal with key nations four years ago. Following that, the US re-imposed crushing sanctions against Tehran. The Iranian and Greek tankers dispute might instigate more escalations and complexity.